A federal judge says an expert commission will have to decide on a $10 million compensation claim from former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and other investors in a mining dispute.
Schweitzer is a director in Optima Inc., a company whose mining rights stand in the way of Mines Management Inc.'s proposed silver and copper mine near Libby.
Those rights have been condemned to make way for the mine, making Optima eligible for compensation.
U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen on Tuesday rejected a request from Mines Management Inc. to throw out Optima's $10 million compensation claim.
However, the judge questioned in a recent order the amount and basis for the claim, which the company's chief executive has called it a "shakedown."
Mines Management Inc. still needs federal approval for the project.